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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of Spousal Migration on the Mental Health of Nepali Women: A Cross-Sectional Study

1
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth BH1 3LH, UK
2
Chitwan Medical College, Tribhuvan University, Bharatpur P.O. Box No. 42, Nepal
3
Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha 442001, India
4
Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu P.O. Box No. 15201, Nepal
5
Nobel College, Pokhara University, Kathmandu GPO 10420, Nepal
6
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA
7
Green Tara Nepal, Kathmandu GPO 9874, Nepal
8
School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041292
Received: 4 February 2020 / Revised: 12 February 2020 / Accepted: 14 February 2020 / Published: 17 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health and Wellbeing of Migrant Populations)
Spousal separation, lack of companionship, and increased household responsibilities may trigger mental health problems in left-behind female spouses of migrant workers. This study aimed to examine mental ill-health risk in the left-behind female spouses of international migrant workers in Nepal. A cross-sectional survey was carried out in the Nawalparasi district. Study areas were purposively chosen; however, participants were randomly selected. Nepali versions of the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) were used. Mental ill-health risk was prevalent in 3.1% of the participants as determined by GHQ. BDI identified mild or moderate depression in 6.5% of the participants with no one having severe depression. In bivariate analysis, a high frequency of communication with the husband was associated with lower mental ill-health risk and depression, as well as increasing resilience. Reduced return intervals of husbands and a high frequency of remittance were also associated with a low GHQ score. In a multiple regression model, adjusting for potential confounding variables, participants who communicated with their husbands at least once a day had a greater mean CD-RISC score (i.e., high resilience against mental ill-health risk) compared to those who did so at least once a week; a mean difference of 3.6 (95% CI 0.4 to 6.9), P = 0.03. To conclude, a low mental ill-health risk was found in the female spouses of migrants. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health; migrant; left-behind; spouse; depression; resilience; Nepal; low- and middle-income countries mental health; migrant; left-behind; spouse; depression; resilience; Nepal; low- and middle-income countries
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Aryal, N.; Regmi, P.R.; van Teijlingen, E.; Trenoweth, S.; Adhikary, P.; Simkhada, P. The Impact of Spousal Migration on the Mental Health of Nepali Women: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1292.

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